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Working with Sanctuary Seeker Volunteers Bukky and Helen, we delivered 2 story sessions to the Libraries weekly story session as part of the Journeys Festival International program. Journeys International Festival curates the work of artists exploring the refugee and asylum seeker experience.
Over a period of weeks Buffy and Helen came into the library to practise reading the book My Name Is Not Refugee by Kate Milner. The book explores what it is like to flee your home from a child’s perspective. Buffy who’s from Nigeria read in her mother tongue Yoruba and Helen who’s Iranian read in Farsi. We had some really interesting and quite hard hitting conversations about Buffy’s and Helen’s concerns about the loss of their cultural heritage by bringing their children up in Britain. They told us how hard it was for them to not only keep their language alive for their children but also to support their children to want to not lose their first language.
The sessions were lovely. The children who attended were very young and we were all a bit nervous about how they might respond. Once Buffy and Helen started to speak in their own languages it was like magic. The babies and toddlers seemed to be mesmerised. There were a few Farsi speaking mums in attendance who were really excited to have attended a story session delivered in their first language.
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